Rumsfeld Tried To Send US Troops To Kashmir

  • From: "Muslim-News" <editor_@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <submit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2002 11:35:24 +0100

SRINAGAR, India (AFP) - US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld last week
proposed the deployment of US troops in Kashmir but India rejected the
suggestion, the leader of the disputed region's Indian zone said. 

"We fear that if they (US troops) come they may occupy the land," Chief
Minister Farooq Abdullah said. "So we told them to remain where they

"When troops enter into some country, they withdraw with great
difficulty," he told reporters in Srinagar, Indian Kashmir's summer

US officials have strongly denied that they have proposed the deployment
of forces to Indian territory. 

But Farooq said New Delhi would have no objection to US troops in the
third of Kashmir administered by Pakistan to monitor the movements of
Islamic rebels. India says the fighters have infiltrated its territory
to take part in the 13-year separatist insurgency in Kashmir. 

Rumsfeld visited New Delhi and Islamabad last Wednesday and Thursday in
the latest US diplomatic offensive to avert war between the
nuclear-armed powers, both key allies in the US-led "war on terrorism." 

India strongly opposes any third-party mediation in Kashmir, which it
considers part of its territory. But Abdullah noted there has always
been some US "intervention" in Kashmir. 

"Americans are very much there, whether we like it or we don't like it,"
said the chief minister, who last week escaped an assassination attempt
by rebels. 

India and Pakistan have massed a million troops at their common borders
after a December 13 attack on the Indian parliament that left dead 14
and which New Delhi blamed on Pakistan-based rebel groups active in

While ruling out a US troop deployment in Indian Kashmir, Abdullah said
the soldiers were more than welcome in the Himalayan territory to boost
its battered tourist industry. 

"I wish Americans came here for holidays, but not with guns," he said. 

"They can come with dollars, live in our hotels and visit all the scenic
spots. It will help our ailing economy." 

At least 35,000 people have died since Islamic rebels launched an armed
campaign in 1989 to end Indian rule in Kashmir, which was once a
favorite haunt for Indian and Western holidaymakers. 

Source:  AFP

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